Fishing the North Coast, August 18 Rockfish bite hot, halibut slows off Eureka; Klamath River action heats up
By Kenny Priest
After a summer full of wind and rough seas, the ocean along the North Coast turned into a lake over the weekend, allowing boats of all shapes and sizes to hit the open seas. And what they found was plenty of fish to go around. The tuna hunters, who’ve been chomping at the bit for a couple months, were able to run offshore to where the warm water lies. Boats out of Fort Bragg and Shelter Cove found a good albacore bite 30 to 40 miles west, while the Crescent City fleet found the albies 45 to 60 miles straight out on Monday and Tuesday. Boats that made the run south to the Cape were greeted by loads of hungry rockfish, as well as a few halibut.
Eric Banko of Cutten holds a 33 lb Chinook salmon he landed last Sunday out of Eureka. Eric was fishing just north of the stacks in 190 feet of water with a flasher and sardine when the big fish hit. Photo courtesy of Mike Earhart
There were a few salmon caught out of Eureka over the weekend, but no big numbers were reported. However, the fish that were caught were of quality size — in the 20 to 30 lb class.
Weekend Marine forecast
It appears the calm waters will give way this weekend as the swells are predicted to build on Thursday and gather steam through Saturday, then start to taper off on Sunday. Friday and Saturday we’re looking at swells NW six ft and WSW 1 ft, with wind waves one to two ft. Sunday is calling for swells four to five ft with wind waves one to two ft. The good news is the wind will be light, nothing greater than 10 knots is forecasted. For up-to-date weather forecasts, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/. You can also call the National Weather Service at (707) 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at (707) 443-6484.
CURE ROE LIKE THE PROS:
With the fall coastal river salmon season right around the corner, I asked a few of our local fishing guides to share their favorite roe cures for salmon. Here’s what they had to say.
Alan Borges of Alan’s Guide Service
www.alansguideservice.com, (707) 496-9074
“I have a couple different methods that work for me. After the skeins are thoroughly cleaned, I’ll wrap them in paper towels and leave in the fridge for 24 hours. This is the most important step of the process. Then I’ll use either Pro Glow or Pro-Cure and follow the instructions. I’ll also experiment with different scents, with sardine being one of my favorites for salmon. The other cure I use is an equal amount of borax and sugar. You want to make sure and get the mixture in all the folds. I leave them in the cure for 24 hours or two days at the most. Once done, I’ll shake off the excess cure and they’re ready to fish. For salmon, I like the eggs to be a little on the rubbery side.”
Mike Coopman of Mike Coopman’s Guide Service
www.mikecoopmansguideservice.com, (707) 465-1367
“I use what I call the 3-2-1 cure — made up of salt, sugar and Borax. I’ll first butterfly the skeins and then add a light coat of salt. Next I’ll sprinkle on some sugar and a good coating of Pro Glow red cure. Finally, I’ll add a good amount of Borax. I’ll put the skeins in large glass jars and let sit for two to three days, turning the jar upside down every 24 hours. After the third day, I’ll either dry or fish them depending on my schedule. To dry the eggs, I’ll drip-dry them on racks for 30-60 minutes, then wrap the skeins in paper towels and place in Ziploc bags and put in the fridge.”
Brice Dusi of Brice Dusi's Fishing Guide Service
www.bricedusi.com, (707) 496-8295
“Curing roe for salmon I almost always use a commercial cure, either Pro Glo or Pro-Cure. My main color is red but sometimes I’ll change it up. Salmon seem to like the sodium sulfite cures more and red has always been the go to color. I always make sure the eggs are clean and try to get as much of the blood out of the veins as possible. First I butterfly the skeins open and if they’re big, I’ll cut up in smaller sizes. I’ll shake on the enough cure to cover the skeins thoroughly. I’ll then put the skeins in a jar or Ziploc bag and when the eggs start juicing up from the cure (1 to 2 hours), I’ll shake them up to move them around in the juice. If you want a firmer egg, you can pour some of the juice out. They should be ready to fish in a day.”
Steve Huber of Steve Huber’s Guide Service
www.stevehuberguideservice.com, (530) 623-1918
“I’ve had really good success with Pro-Cure’s Last Supper Coastal /Tidewater Double-Red formula. I first butterfly the skeins and then add a good coating of the cure, making sure to get in all the folds of the eggs. I’ll then put them in glass jars for two to three days until the juice is re-absorbed. Next I’ll put the skeins in large-mouth jars and stick them in the freezer for 24 hours. At this point they are ready to fish as is, or you can dry them with straight or colored borax, depending on what color you’re after. If I’m not going to use the eggs right away, I’ll vacuum seal them in the jars and stick them in the fridge.”
Tony Sepulveda of Green Water Fishing Adventures
www.greenwaterguides.com, (907) 841-5420
“Ninety percent of the time I’ll use one of the sodium sulfite based cures, either Pro Glow or Pro-Cure. I first butterfly open the skeins using a butter knife, then with the butter knife I push out all the excess blood from the blood line. I’ll then sprinkle the cure over the eggs making sure it gets in all the folds. I then leave them to sit in their juices for 30 minutes in either a bowl or a Ziploc bag. Next I’ll take them out and place them egg-side down on paper towels for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes I’ll turn them over and let them dry until they’re tacky. This normally takes about four to six hours, depending on the temperature and humidity. Once dry, they are ready to fish.”
Mike Stratman of Redwood Coast Fishing
www.redwoodcoastfishing.com, (707) 476-9243
“After butterflying the skeins, I wrap the eggs in paper towels and leave them in the fridge overnight. This will remove most of the moisture. Next I’ll sprinkle on a 50-50 mixture of Borax and sugar, then I’ll mix in one of the commercial cures, Pro Glow, Pro-Cure, or Pautzke’s. Once I get a good coat on the eggs, I’ll put them in a gallon plastic container and put the lid on. I store the container in dark, cool spot, usually in the garage, until the juice is re-absorbed and the consistency is what I’m looking for. At this point you can add scent to your eggs and they are ready to fish.”
Look for steelhead roe cures from these pros in next week’s “Fishing the North Coast”
Ocean conditions this weekend aren’t going to be quite as nice as the past few days, but should remain fishable according to Phil Pritting of Eureka’s Englund Marine. “The rockfish bite down at the Cape has been awesome this past week, with the weather finally allowing boats to make the trip. The halibut action slowed the last couple days and the fish are being taken in a little shallower water, 200-210 ft. The top bait is still the jumbo sardines, with the B2 Squid coming in a close second. There aren’t a lot of salmon being caught right now, but the fish that are coming in are big,” said Pritting. There’s been a pretty good halibut bite inside the bay according to John Corbett of Eureka’s Pro Sport Center. “I heard one of the top spots was between Indian and Woodley Islands. The channels in the North Bay were also productive last week. The redtail perch bite has been steady at the usual spots from Centerville Beach north to Gold Bluffs Beach. Guys are catching a nice grade of fish, especially around the river mouths,” Corbett added. Skipper Phil Glenn on the Shellback reported a red-hot rockfish bite last Friday and Monday at the Cape, with easy limits each trip. Glenn also reports the halibut bite has slowed out front, with one to two fish per trip. Skipper Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing took advantage of the flat ocean and spent quite a few days down south below the Cape where he was able to scratch out a few halibut along with full limits of quality rockfish, including Blacks, Coppers, Vermilions, and a few lings mixed in.
The rock fishing is as good as it gets right now according to Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. “Boats are scoring easy limits and the ling cod have shown up as well. We’ve also had six or seven Pacific Halibut caught off the big reef in 70-90 ft of water. A few boats made the run for albacore on Monday and Tuesday and found good action straight out 45 to 60 miles,” Hegnes added.
Russ Thomas of Mario’s Marina in Shelter Cove reports the tuna boats found a pretty good bite out 30-40 miles on Tuesday. “Just about every boat came back with fish, with about a 10 fish average per boat. There are still a few salmon being caught, with a few 30 pounders weighed in last week,” Thomas added
The action isn’t red-hot, but it’s getting better everyday, according to Alan’s Guide Service. “We’re seeing fish in just about every hole from the Glen to Blue Creek. I did hear of a few more salmon caught by boats at the mouth on Tuesday, so that’s a good sign. The moss is also starting to thin out, so that should really improve the catch-rate. Red and natural colored roe have been the baits of choice,” Borges added.
Rick Frederick of Hawkins Bar Mini Mart reports there are still a few fish around from Burnt Ranch to Junction City, but not any big numbers. At this point we’re waiting for the fall fish to arrive and they just aren’t here yet,” Frederick added.
Questions, comments, tips, and photos can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
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